.NET 5 will still ship this November, but it won’t have all the unifying “just one .NET going forward” functionality that Microsoft originally planned because of delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some features originally planned for .NET 5 in November 2020 are now slated for .NET 6 in November 2021.
“Last year, we laid out our vision for one .NET and .NET 5,” said Scott Hunter, director of program management, .NET, in a post published during the company’s Build developer conference. “We said we would take .NET Core and Mono/Xamarin implementations and unify them into one base class library (BCL) and toolchain (SDK).
“In the wake of the global health pandemic, we’ve had to adapt to the changing needs of our customers and provide the support needed to assist with their smooth operations. Our efforts continue to be anchored in helping our customers address their most urgent needs. As a result, we expect these features to be available in preview by November 2020, but the unification will be truly completed with .NET 6, our Long-Term Support (LTS) release. Our vision hasn’t changed, but our timeline has.”
Hunter made those comments in an announcement of .NET 5 Preview 4, wherein he detailed .NET 5 highlights, many of which are included in the new preview. These include:
- Support of C# 9 and F# 5
- Performance improvements
- Single file applications — a new single-file publish type that executes an app out of a single binary (for example, can be used on read-only media).
- Windows ARM64 — Enable .NET to run natively on Windows ARM64, supporting both development scenarios and deployment of client apps on customer machines.
- ARM64 — Improve ARM64 performance (Linux and Windows) in the JIT and BCL libraries.
- Containers — Reduce container image size and implement new container APIs to enable .NET to stay up-to-date with container runtime evolution.
- New Target Framework — We have adopted a new approach for .NET TFMs.
- JSON APIs — Enable easier migration from Newtonsoft.Json to System.Text.Json.
Hunter also announced that the Windows Forms designer for .NET Core projects is now available as a preview in Visual Studio 2019 version 16.6, also released today.
Much other news was packed into the huge post, augmented by release notes.
“NET 5.0 is shaping up to be another big foundational release, much like .NET Core 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0,” Hunter said in conclusion. “It includes many new improvements that should make your applications and development process better and easier. Much of the team has been working on .NET 5 since before we released .NET Core 3.0. We’ve been looking forward to releasing all these improvements in a near-final form for many months, and will now watch for your feedback as you try them out.”